Helen Sheehan Book Prize

Congratulations to Kristin Lenz

Winner of the 2015 Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize

Elephant Rock Books YA is pleased to announce our judges’ unanimously selected Kristin’s novel, The Art of Holding on and Letting Go, as the winner of this year’s Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize.

Thank you to the seventy writers who submitted manuscripts to the 2015 contest.

Set in Ecuador, Michigan, and California, The Art of Holding on and Letting Go is a story about the transformative power of nature, love and loss, and discovering that home can be somewhere very different from where you started.

The novel will be published in Fall 2016.

Judges’ Praise for The Art of Holding On and Letting Go

“A powerful, enveloping story about grief, the deep layers bubbling beneath the surface of every individual, and the ways relationships help us through our toughest times.”—Kelly Jensen

“I loved this book. There's plenty of humor, a hint of romance, and great rock climbing scenes that will have you riveted.”—Anne Rouyer

“Cara’s story is about finding yourself, your family and your center. Lenz encourages readers to think outside the pages, to find their own place in the world as Cara discovers hers.”—Meghan Dietsche Goel


Kristin Lenz is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and co-edits the Michigan chapter blog. Her writing has appeared in Hunger Mountain and Great Lakes Review. The Art of Holding On and Letting Go is her first book.

Book Prize Judges

Kelly Jensen


Kelly Jensen is a former teen/youth services librarian turned associate editor and community manager for Book Riot. She blogs about young adult fiction, reading, and serving teens at She’s the author of It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader from VOYA Press.

Anne Rouyer


Anne Rouyer is currently a supervising young adult librarian at the Mulberry Street Branch of The New York Public Library. She has served on the 2012 Morris YA Award committee, and is currently the co-chair for the NYPL's Best Books for Teens 2015 booklist committee.

Meghan Dietsche Goel


Meghan Dietsche Goel is the children's and young adult book buyer at BookPeople in Austin, TX. She serves as the program director for the Texas Teen Book Festival.